Several of Soderbergh’s films were admired prior to 1998, but we don’t think any film he’s made, before or since, has been loved the way people love Out of Sight. He found perfect pitch in this movie; there’s not one bum note in the whole thing. You ever hear your parents or grandparents talk about the wonder with which they watched Hollywood classics? All those brilliant, bright faces, the get-you-into-bed charisma, the transporting stories, the big love? That’s how we watch Out of Sight. God. Movie stars, right?
In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, pop culture plays a number of different roles. It helps prolong Andy’s childhood indefinitely, but it also provides a vocabulary and set of shared experiences that connect the characters, even if that connection comes partly from a blinding hatred for Michael McDonald. Pop culture unites us by what we hate as much as by what we love, and I particularly responded to the running gag involving McDonald’s soul-killing ubiquity within the store because I spent four years working at Blockbuster Video, and I remember a four-month stretch where we were professionally required to play a special episode of Entertainment Tonight created specifically for Blockbuster on a never-ending loop. So over the course of a single shift I might see and hear the same inane half-hour of drivel 16 times in a row. As David’s cheerful opening threat of mass murder indicates, that kind of mindless repetition can do strange and terrible things to a man’s mind.
Our latest Movie Of The Week discussion continues Blockbuster Month by looking at Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Nathan Rabin kicks off the conversation with an essay on the film’s queasy but loving relationship with pop culture (and how it mirrors his own). Wednesday features a staff dialogue about the film’s massive influence over modern comedy, its take on masculinity, and whether some of its more insensitive humor would fly today. And Thursday will bring a piece on Apatow’s early, pre-Virgin history and how it influences his work. Come join the Dissolve commenters in talking through this comedy classic.
No big surprise, but the Coen Brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis” has been getting raves, not just for the film, rooted in the ’60s folk scene, but for the T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack that gets boosts from Justin Timberlake, Punch Brothers, and leading man Oscar Isaac as well.
The art of masterfully setting music to moving pictures is nothing new to the Coens, who have been delivering great scenes set to just the right notes since 1984′s “Blood Simple.” In honor of the folksy beauty of “Llewyn,” here are the ten greatest musical moments sprung from the minds of everyone’s favorite two-headed directing monster.